Seven Fountains Primary School is located in the Shayamoya Township of Kokstad and has a learner population of over 1000.
In the process of designing and building schools we opt for inclusive, transparent design processes that allow positive relationships to grow between ourselves as ‘designers’ and our client community, between donors and recipients, between government departments and various invested NGO’s, between contracting parties and consulting professionals. In doing so the school as an institution strengthens its ties with the surrounding residents and the facility itself is used and cared for by the local community.
In creating a sustainable school in Shayamoya we identified a number of key design interventions that, through little or no extra cost, could improve the quality of the teaching and learning spaces whilst at the same time reducing both the running costs for the school and the environmental impact of the buildings:
Passive Low Energy Design
Carefully considered solar orientation of the main learning areas means that they take full advantage of the seasonal & daily solar cycles to ensure that classrooms are cool in summer and warm throughout the icy winters. All of the occupied areas are well insulated to improve thermal comfort.
Good natural light improves the quality of the visual environment. Glare and heat gain are reduced through appropriately positioned solar shading and light shelves.
Rainwater is collected from all impermeable surfaces, stored in an underground reservoir then pumped to header tanks and gravity-fed to flush toilets. Low consumption fittings and appliances reduce the volume of water used.
Variety of teaching spaces
Mezzanine areas in the classrooms provide breakaway spaces for creative teaching and for project work. Outdoor teaching spaces provide alternative learning environments. Round multi-purpose classrooms for creative and cultural activities have been built using traditional methods.The media centre is located centrally and is easily accessed by the school and surrounding community.
Post-occupancy Monitoring & Evaluation
The effectiveness of passive solar design strategies is monitored by sensors which measure room temperatures, light levels and energy consumption. Water consumption patterns are monitored. A digital weather station provides live data to enable us to monitor thermal performance of the buildings as conditions change. The post-occupancy feedback from the school has informed a larger school building programme throughout South Africa.